Chris Hardwick Cries in Return to ‘Talking Dead’: ‘I Have so Much Gratitude’ (Video)

“The show is not just a job to me — this is a vital part of my life,” AMC personality says

A tearful Chris Hardwick returned to “Talking Dead” on Sunday, where the AMC personality sniffled his way through a heartfelt thank you to the colleagues and fans who have stuck by him.

“I really just want to take a minute and I want to say that I am so appreciative to be standing here right now,” he said. “And I want to thank you, the ‘Walking Dead’ community for all of your support these last couple of months.”

“The show is not just a job to me — this is a vital part of my life,” Hardwick continued. “And this has been a sanctuary. These last seven years we’ve been here. This has been with me through good times and bad times, and I have so much gratitude to you, the fans and the producers and the amazing casts of both of these shows.”

Hardwick was suspended by AMC after his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra accused him of abusive behavior in a publicly posted essay. Though Dykstra did not name the former boyfriend, whom she said pressured her into sex and ultimately derailed her career, it was pretty easy to connect the dots to the Nerdist co-founder.

In her essay, titled “Rose-Colored Glasses: A Confession,” the 29-year-old said that when she was in her early twenties, she dated a man “almost 20 years my senior” who displayed what she called “controlling behavior.”

She also accused the man of pressuring her into sex against her will, though she wrote, “To be fair, I did go along with it out of fear of losing him.” She added that “after three years of being snapped/yelled at constantly, very rarely being shown any affection- I finally left him.”

“We take these matters very seriously and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step,” AMC said in a statement last month announcing that Hardwick had been reinstated.

Dykstra said she stands by “every single word” of her essay.

Watch Hardwick’s “Talking Dead” return via the video above. The after-show covers the on-screen exploits of dramas “The Walking Dead” and spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead.”